Cairo, 10 May:
Iran may be smuggling weapons from Libya into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian security sources believe.
These weapons could then be . . .[restrict]used for an attack on Israel, an eventuality that has been made more likely by reduced security along the Egypt-Israel border in the wake of Egypt’s revolution last year.
Speaking to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, an Egyptian government official also claimed that both Israel and some Western nations had approached the authorities in Cairo to voice their concerns. The official sought to play down the fears, however, saying, “the situation in Sinai is under control… the [Egyptian] defence minister has visited, as has the prime minister… and we are in charge of deciding what is to be done there.”
Egyptian officials have privately admitted that Iran could well be attempting to generate conflict along the Egypt-Israel border by supporting anti-Israeli militants based in Sinai. Egypt is believed to have stepped-up monitoring of Iranian businessmen and Iranian passport holders in the country since the fall of the regime of Hosni Mubarak last February.
The newspaper also quoted local officials in Benghazi who said that they were not aware of any Iranian businessmen involved in the financing or smuggling of weapons from Libya to Egypt. Nonetheless, some security sources in Benghazi have indicated the existence of links between members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and Islamists from Egypt and the Gaza Strip. [/restrict]